Ep. 7 Mealtime - Dad's Group


The dad's group continues with the fathers sharing about their mealtime power struggles. Joe opens up with a conflict his daughters have surrounding dessert. If they finish their food, they get dessert but if one gets it and the other doesn't, they fight about fairness. Maribeth intervenes with her opinion that dessert should not be a commodity. It creates bargaining, power struggles, and takes all the value out of the actual meal and puts it into the dessert. She suggests giving dessert a few hours before dinner or making one night a week dessert night, regardless of how the children eat their dinners. To further remove the power struggle from dinner, she suggests serving the meal family style and pass around the serving plates instead of setting up the children's plates for them.

Joe's concerned that this will result in his daughter, who doesn't like meat, not getting enough protein. Maribeth suggests experimenting with alternative proteins, including nuts, putting that on the table with the meal, and discussing the value of protein.

Gus presents his mealtime struggle with his two children. He asks his children what they want, he gets a consensus, cooks it, and then the kids still just eat the carbs. Maribeth restates the idea of serving the meal family style and also to involve the kids in preparing the meal. She also suggests slowing the process down and asking the kids to take a "no thank you bite" so they try the food. 

Edwin already serves his children family style. They eat a traditional Chinese meal with up to ten choices yet they seem to only want to eat the rice. His son is especially picky and refuses to eat vegetables. Maribeth suggests to get the kids more involved in the preparation of the meal so they get a better sense of the food that is being presented to them. Edwin says they do help prepare a certain dish which they do enjoy eating.

Maribeth closes by emphasizing that the adults model good mealtime habits and make sure to sit down and eat with them.

We also read some questions from the Facebook Group community about mealtime including kids who are too busy talking to eat and a very picky eater.

The podcast ends with an extra question from the Facebook Group where a mother has a hypothetical question about her own death. Should she have an open casket funeral or is that too difficult for children to see? Maribeth offers advice about discussing death before death occurs. Here is a downloadable guide to how to talk to your kids about death. Download

Thank you to Jabberdogs for your support of this episode.


Printable Family Mealtime Rules

The dads are having power struggles with their kids about eating. Use this printable mealtime rules sheet to set some family ground rules about behavior at meals. Sit down with the entire family to agree on the family expectations.

Some examples might be:

  • Take a "no thank you bite" of everything on the table.
  • Ask to be excused before leaving the table.
  • Use inside voices.
  • Use manner words.

Fill out the form below for a free printable sheet to download.

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